By Andrew Chung
(Reuters)—The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear President Joe Biden's bid to reinstate his plan to cancel billions of dollars in student debt after it was blocked by a lower court in a challenge by six states that have accused his administration of exceeding its authority.
The justices deferred taking action on Biden's request to lift an injunction issued on Nov. 14 by the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the program, but said in a brief order that they would hear oral arguments in the case in their session that runs from late February to early March.
The challenge to the Democratic president's policy was brought by Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina. Five of those six states are Republican governed while the other, Kansas, has a Republican attorney general.
The policy faces another hurdle as the administration contests a separate Nov. 10 ruling by a federal judge in Texas deeming the program unlawful. A federal appeals court on Wednesday declined to put that decision on hold, and the administration has said it plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)